Scottish Fact of the Day: Scottish Saints

MOST people will be aware of St Andrew, commonly referred to as the patron saint of Scotland, but there are around 23 prominent Scottish saints - and no, St Johnstone isn’t one of them!

However, there is a footballing link, as the patron saint of Paisley is St Mirren and Perth’s counterpart is St John. Perth was originally named ‘St John’s Town’, in a name derived from the saint which also gives Perth’s football team St Johnstone its name.

Edinburgh’s patron saint is St Giles, born in Athens, but lived most of his life in what is now southern France, close to the existing French-Spanish border. Celebrating his feast day on September 1st, Giles enjoys a large shrine on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

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Although not Scottish by birth, like Giles, St Columba is the patron saint of Iona, where he died aged 75, after constructing a monastery sometime between 563AD and 597AD. Believed to be one of the 12 Irish Apostles, Columba is also credited with founding monasteries in Kells, Derry and Swords in Ireland.

And of course, St Margaret of Dunfermline. Hungarian-born to an English family, she is without doubt one of the more well-known Scottish saints. Margaret fled to Scotland with her family, following the Norman conquest of England, in 1066. Four years later, she married King Malcolm III, assuming the role of Queen consort. Responsible for numerous charitable ventures, she set up a ferry across the Firth of Forth, to carry pilgrims to Dunfermline Abbey, giving the towns of North and South Queensferry their names.

We’ve focused on some of the better-known Scottish saints, but here is the full list:

St Andrew: Scotland and St Andrews

St Baldred: North Berwick

St Blane: Dunblane

St Bossil: St Boswells

St Columba: Iona

St Cuthbert: Kirkcudbright

St Duthac: Tain

St Faolean: St Fillans

St Fechin: St Vigeans, Arbroath

St Giles: Edinburgh

St John: Perth

St John Ogilvie: Keith

St Maelrubha: Applecross and Loch Maree

St Mary: Dundee

St Margaret: Dunfermline

St Molaise: Holy Isle off Arran

St Mungo/Kentigern: Glasgow

St Nicholas: Aberdeen

St Magnus: Kirkwall

St Mirren: Paisley

St Ninian: Whithorn

St Serf: Dunning and Loch Leven

St Vigean: Ecclefechan and St Vigeans